Marijuana ordinance sent on to Norway city, township


NORWAY — The Norway Area Planning Commission has agreed to pass along a proposed medical marijuana facilities zoning ordinance to the Norway City Council and Norway Township Board, which will decide whether such facilities will be allowed in the Norway area.

A public hearing Wednesday on the issue drew little input. One resident was against allowing facilities due to drug problems in the area, while another offered the commission an alternative sample ordinance.

However, commission members noted they have talked to many people on both sides — most law enforcement officers are opposed to allowing facilities, while local medical marijuana caregivers are in favor, they said.

Michigan residents Dec. 15 will be able to apply for licenses to operate commercial facilities for growing, processing or distributing medical marijuana, but local municipalities have the final say on allowing those facilities within their borders.

Planning commission members explained their purpose was to craft a zoning ordinance in case the city council, township board or both want to allow the medical marijuana facilities.

The proposed zoning ordinance rules include:

— Any medical marijuana facilities must be located in industrial zones.

— Any facilities must be equipped with security cameras as well as an air filtration system to minimize any odors to the surrounding area.

— Marijuana processing must be within a fully enclosed, secure indoor facility.

— Lighting inside any buildings used for marijuana growing or processing cannot be visible outside the buildings from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

— Distribution centers can only have consumers present between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

— Distribution centers cannot have walk-up or drive-through window services.

— Marijuana and tobacco products cannot be smoked or consumed inside distribution centers.

If the city council and/or township board vote to allow medical marijuana facilities, a policing ordinance also will be needed, Norway City Manager Ray Anderson said.

Both the zoning and policing ordinances may need to be adjusted if the state makes changes to the facilities licensing act, he added.

Planning commission members said they would be willing to have a meeting along with the city council and township board if anyone has questions on the proposed ordinance.